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Sally Matthews is recognised as one of the foremost lyric sopranos of her generation, her international career encompassing the opera, concert and recital stages, collaborating with many of worlds artists and conductors.

Sally Matthews appearances in the 2023/24 season include her role debut as Leonore Fidelio at the Berlin Staatsoper; Sieglinde in Romeo Castelluci’s new production of Die Walküre and The Governess Turn of the Screw - both for La Monnaie, Brussels and Emilia Marty in a concert performance of The Makropulos Case conducted by Karina Canellakis at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. While on the concert platform, she will appear with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Dutch Radio Orchestra, Orquesta Nacional de Espana and the Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester, Berlin.

During the 2022/23 Season, Sally returned to the Glyndebourne Festival and the BBC Proms giving a “career defining” performance as Blanche de la Force in a new production of Dialogues des Carmélites directed by Barrie Kosky; she returned to La Monnaie, Brussels as The Marschallin Der Rosenkavalier and as Tatyana in a new production of Eugene Onegin directed by Laurent Pelly, a role she also sang in Christof Loy's production at Norwegian National Opera. In concert she appeared with the Dresden Philharmonie and Juanjo Mena in a Mozart and Mahler programme; with the L’Orchestra Symphonique de la Monnaie and Alain Altinoglu in Strauss’s Vier Letze Lieder; with the Orchestra of Opéra de Rouen and Ben Glassberg in Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder; she returned to one of her signature pieces, Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri - with Perry So and the Orquesta Sinfonica di Navarra and to the titular role of Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen in concert performance at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with the Dutch Radio Orchestra conducted by Karina Canellakis.

Recent appearances on the operatic stage include: the title role of Rusalka for the Glyndebourne Festival and with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Anna Ruthven in Mercadante's Il proscritto with Carlo Rizzi for Opera Rara at The Barbican; Countess Madeleine Capriccio, The Governess The Turn of the Screw and the title roles of Strauss’s Daphne and Bellini’s Norma for La Monnaie; the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen for English National Opera and Elisabetta de Valois Don Carlos for Opéra de Lyon.

In concert Sally recently made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Juanjo Mena in excerpts from Barber’s Anthony and Cleopatra - a programme which was also performed at the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic Orcehstra - other recent appearances include Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with the Orchestre National de Metz and Marzena Diakun; Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem with with LSO and Valery Gergiev and Philharmonie Zuidnederland and Duncan Ward; Beethoven Symphony No 9 with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Mikko Franck; Mahler Symphony No. 4 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Robin Ticciati and she sang the role of Ellen Orford in concert performances of Peter Grimes at the Brisbane Festival and also with Sir Antonio Pappano and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

She made her debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2016 singing Silvia in the World Premiere of Adès’ The Exterminating Angel, a role reprised in her debut at the Metropolitan Opera and at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden where other appearances have included Fiordiligi Così fan tutte; Sifare Mitridate; Anne Truelove The Rake’s Progress; the title role of La Calisto and Blanche de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites.

Sally made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper as Donna Anna in a new production of Don Giovanni conducted by Franz Welser Möst, and she has appeared regularly at the Bayerische Staatsoper, in the title role of Jenufa; as Blanche de la Force Dialogues des Carmélites; Fiordiligi and she sang the title role in the World Premiere of Ursuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland. Throughout her career Sally has also appeared regularly at Dutch National Opera; Theater an der Wien and at the Glyndebourne Festival.

She sings regularly with orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony and Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Bavarian Radio Symphony orchestras with conductors including Sir Antonio Pappano, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Simone Young, Franz Welser Möst; Daniel Harding and she worked often with both the late Sir Charles Mackerras and Bernard Haitink.

A dedicated recitalist, Sally as regularly appeared at the Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Carnegie Hall, New York - where she made her debut with Thomas Adès at the piano; she has released a Recital Disc with Malcolm Martineau and this season she will return to the Wigmore Hall with Simon Lepper. Sally is a former winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award and she was also a part of the BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists Scheme and a participant of the Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Biography not for publication, for an up to date version please contact Oliver Clarke.


"Central is Sally Matthews’s Blanche. This is surely the finest performance of her career, portraying a young woman whose journey from twitchy, almost infantile fearfulness to unflinching martyrdom underpins the drama - she sings with wonderful lustre!" Richard Morrison, The Times

"Through the centre of it all moves (Sally) Matthews as Blanche: an actor who can hold the entire audience in silence as her expression shifts from panic to resolve, and whose singing - first eloquent, then hysterical; initially refined, before soaring with an ecstasy wrought from liquid fire - was in a category that “virtuosic” doesn’t begin to cover" Richard Bratby, The Spectator

"Blanche herself is a fierce Sally Matthews, whose full tone masters the breadth of Poulenc’s demanding score. She is perfect for the role – sincere, confused and devoted, frequently static for interludes, but rising to the discomfort of the silence and space demanded of her by Kosky. On declaring ‘J’ai decide d’entrer au Carmel’ (I want to become a Carmelite nun) a moving golden glow descends as Matthews embodies Blanche’s vocation." Hattie Butterworth, Opera Now

"A career-defining performance from Sally Matthews as Blanche de la Force" Jonathan Cross, Opera Magazine

"Sally Matthews {as Blanche de la Force} has the role of a lifetime and delivers it with suppressed passion." Nicholas Kenyon, The Daily Telegraph

"Sally Matthews sang Blanche de la Force in a performance that would conventionally be called standout if the others weren’t also so pitch-perfect. Her character’s journey – from a dreamy ingenu to resolute martyr – is convincingly and thoroughly reflected in a stiffening of the vocal sinews, finding more raw textures and sheer power as the show goes on." Benjamin Poore, Operawire

"Sally Matthews, in a sparkling gold beaded dress paired with her natural beauty, was completely believable as the universally adored diva Emilia Marty/Elina Makropulos, who stole the hearts of the audience just as her character had stolen hundreds of hearts in her incredible long life. Matthews' beautiful upper range - especially in the final scene - where the soaring cantilena of her character's lyrical outburst of emotion allowed Matthews to shine." Opera Magazine NL

"As Blanche, Sally Matthews convinces equally as wide-eyed aristocrat and religious martyr, her voice at times gritty with fury, elsewhere gleamingly beautiful." Flora Willson, The Guardian

"Sally Matthews was superb as The Marschallin, her voice pure and intense." Nicolas Blanmont, Opera Magazine

"Sally Matthews stands out among this rich and heterogeneous cast thanks to a psychic understanding of the role of Tatyana, which she nevertheless interprets for the first time: in her career, the young woman in love with a direct and irrational love right down to the reflective mother, though torn with melancholy regrets, all carried and held by the voice. The British soprano accustomed to the boards of La Monnaie draws a complex and direct voice at the same time, very lyrical and precise. The highs sound limpid, yet rich and full, the chest voice sometimes more raucous and deep has a tragic quality. The breath is always under control, and nothing seems complicated for this Tatyana in all the complexity of her empathy." Par Soline Heurtebise, Olyrix

"Sally Matthews has matured impressively over the last decade.. accruing both power and focus without loss of shine or flexibility. Singing what I believe is her first Rusalka, she gave her all…" Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph

"As Tatjana, Sally Matthews voice remains just as fascinating, at the same time shimmering, tense and powerful! Act III sees her in full possession of her faculties, and the splendour of her singing would be enough to make Onegin fall in love." Dominique Joucken, Forum Opera

"Sally Matthews in the role of Tatjana is magnificent. It's great how she continues to sound clear and powerful!" Karl Forster, 8Weekly

"This critic had heard a fine performance of this music by Matthews and Mena at the BBC Proms in London in 2018, but their performance here on Thursday was even finer. Looking suitably regal in a glittery gold form-fitting gown, the British soprano put her full, vibrant, richly contoured voice fully at the service of text and music. The wide melodic leaps of Barber’s vocal lines held no terrors for her. Cleopatra’s suicidal anguish as she prepared to touch asp to breast came through to poignant effect" John von Rhein, Chicago Classical Review

"But the most astonishing performances on Sunday’s program came in the set with which Matthews finished the top half.... She showed the depth of her artistry in a selection of Schubert lieder, starting with “Der Unglükliche,” where she sang with a focused, cool tone that could be either haunting or bracing, depending on the intensity of the music. In “Seligkeit” she perfectly captured that essentially Schubertian melancholic joy ... stunning dynamic range made for a riveting performance of a truly great song." Eric C Simpson, The New York Classical Review

"The splendid, velvet-toned soprano Sally Matthews makes Daphne’s expression of grief a matter of deep poignancy, the high point of an impressive portrayal.” George Loomis, New York Times

"Matthews performed the role of Ellen Orford with beautiful tone and legato line throughout the vocal and dynamic range ... her Embroidery Aria in the third act was a highlight, maintaining a lovely sense of English restraint both vocally and dramatically." Trevor Jones, The Conversation

"... there was one performance that elevated this performance to another level, and that was Sally Matthews’ astonishing assumption of the title role. On stunning form, she lit up the stage with her every appearance, and sang the role more gloriously than anyone we’ve heard before. Her prayer to the Virgin Mary in the central act was heart-breaking, as was her reaction to the discovery of the Kostelnička’s crime. Her forgiveness of, and reconciliation with, Laca at the close brought a lump to the throat. This was acting and singing on an exalted level that took the breath away." Keith McDonnell, musicOMH

"Sally Matthews was Konstanze. Her tone is pure silver...she sang Ach Ich liebte exquisitely..." Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph

"The star of the evening was Sally Matthews, who debuted in the role of Norma … she brought a Norma with which she transported, moved and impressed the audience. Sally Matthews is a world-class Norma." Lennaert van Anken, Opera Magazine

"Sally Matthews’ Rusalka is sung with a smoky soprano that has surprising heft given its delicacy, and the Prince is Evan LeRoy Johnson, who combines an ardent tenor with good looks. They have great chemistry between them and the whole cast is excellent." Opera Now

"Matthews is noted for her interpretation of the demanding role of the Peri and also appears on one of its few recordings, with Rattle conducting. The soprano was richly communicative in the taxing vocal lines, which called for frequent leaps and a culminating high C ... Her most rewarding moments occurred in Part III, particularly in “Verstossen, verschlossen” (“Expelled again”), as she fervently vowed to go to the depths of the earth, an operatic tour-de-force." Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Business Courier

"Matthews’s voice is effortlessly audible and sounded rich and pliable and a perfect balance with the string-only accompaniment ... Matthews’s voice sounds so human that, no matter how high or low the notes nor how foreign the words, it still feels as though she is singing just for you. A great gift. This gift opened the second half as she performed two scenes from Barber’s Antony And Cleopatra. Her coloratura fireworks were deeply satisfying, the friendly accessibility of her voice never wavering." Jeffery Taylor, The Sunday Express

"Sally Matthews provides her mermaid Rusalka with a poignantly warm, introverted yet powerful tone; already in the ‘Song to the Moon” she embodies a human soul shuddering with desire and pain." Christiane Peitz, Der Tagesspiegel

"Sally Matthews grows in stature from a lovely performance of her Silver Moon aria, through the tormenting silences of her wedding feast, to the lyrical outpourings of the closing pages. She has evolved into an outstanding dramatic soprano, with a strong chest voice, masterly control and linkage throughout the range, and a compelling stage presence.” Stephen Walsh, The Art’s Desk

"The spellbinding voice of Sally Matthews lends Elisabeth a powerful outpouring whose pronounced vibrato reflects the emotion that is captured in the duet with Don Carlos... throughout the opera, her expressiveness combined with stage presence makes her a convincing interpreter, with grace and a Schillerian dignity…” Fabrice Malkani, Forum Opera

"The soprano Sally Matthews brings a radiant voice and natural allure to Silvia de Ávila, a young widowed aristocrat…” Anthony Tommasini, New York Times